The former DR Congo Vice President, Jean-Pierre Bemba has indicated his support for the ‘state of siege’ that has been declared in the eastern part of the country.
The state of siege became effective on Thursday, May 6 and would last for 30 days. It was declared by President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo following increasing insecurity in Ituri and North Kivu provinces in the east of the country.
President Tshisekedi has appointed military and police officers to replace governors and deputy governors in the two provinces of eastern DR Congo.
“Faced with insecurity and the several crimes committed in the East, the state of siege could permit a return to peace and security,” declared Bemba on Friday. Bemba is the leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) political party.
The MLC leader rejected accusations by a group of UN experts against Lt-General Constant Ndima, former chief of the military arm of the MLC rebellion who has just been appointed Governor of North Kivu.
The UN experts accused Lt-General Ndima of being implicated in the massacres in 2002 and 2003 during the operation “Effacer le Tableau” – Wipe the List.
Despite the stepped-up military operations in the area, the massacre of civilians continues in Eastern DR Congo.
President Tshisekedi recently announced joint military operations with neighbouring countries (Kenya in particular), which have been rejected by some segments of the population who are against the involvement of Rwandan and Ugandan forces.
Bemba said he was supportive of the joint military operations on the condition that the cooperation was supported by an accord.
Bemba, who is a former warlord, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes committed in the Central African Republic.
He was acquitted in 2018 after having served 10 years behind bars.
He filed his candidature for the 2018 DR Congo presidential election but the application was rejected by the Constitutional Court.
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